Book: Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy
Music: Matthew Sklar
Lyrics: Chad Beguelin
Director: Nick Winston
Reviewer: Clare White
Set in the era of pitchy synth pop, big hair and even bigger shoulder pads, The Wedding Singer is a light-hearted dose of 80s kitsch. This musical adaptation of the 1998 rom-com starring Adam Sandler brings together the sweetness and fun of the film, with a witty retro score.
Wedding singer Robbie Hart (Jon Robyns) is in love with love. That is until his fiancée Linda cruelly jilts him at the altar when she realises he’s not going to become the rock star she’d set her sights on. Now broken and bitter, Robbie struggles to entertain happy couples on their wedding day, so it’s down to his new friend Julia (Cassie Compton) to help him through his heartbreak. It’s not long before Robbie realises Julia is THE ONE, just as she becomes engaged to money-mad Glen Gulia (Ray Quinn) and it looks like he’s missed his chance at true love.
It’s a classic boy-meets-girl story, with an 80s twist of Miami Vice suits, Thriller dance moves and crimped hair. Yes, the whole ‘will they, won’t they’ is as predictable as you might imagine, but it is also feel-good fun, with plenty of laugh-out-loud musical numbers – Somebody Kill Me and Come Out of the Dumpster are particular favourites.
At times it feels a little rushed, and character development is skimmed over – for example, we only really learn what a big romantic Robbie is/was once he’s in his dumped, melancholy state halfway through act one. Then there are parts which feel like they’ve been included to fill, like the number Saturday Night in the City, which doesn’t really do much for the story except bring the first act to a close.
Robyns is brilliant as love-sick Robbie – endearing and engaging, with a superb voice and comedic energy, he really shines throughout. He has great chemistry with Compton, who is equally good as sweet-natured Julia. Her voice is beautifully pure and well-matched with Robyns’, and their duets If I Told You and Grow Old With You are real highlights.
Former X Factor star Ray Quinn hits the mark with his portrayal of arrogant yuppie Glen. It’s a shame he’s a little underused, as he does a great turn in his single solo number, All About The Green. His dance skills are also pretty impressive.
There is a strong supporting cast, including the sparkling Stephanie Clift as Julia’s best friend Holly and Hi Di Hi star Ruth Madoc as Robbie’s Grandma Rosie, who has many of the best one-liners.
Much like the first dance at a wedding, this musical is filled with sweetness and romance, albeit slightly drawn out when you are desperate for the buffet to open. It’s also a bit like the last dance at a wedding when the prosecco has been flowing, shoes are kicked off and you’re dancing to YMCA with your Grandma – The Wedding Singer is a dose of upbeat, laugh-out-loud fun.
Runs until 7 October 2017 | Image: Darren Bell